Date Posted:09/13/2003, 2:00PM
BRUNSWICK, Maine - The Bowdoin College men's and women's tennis teams have established themselves to be a force in New England over the past three seasons. Both squads have consistently won against rival NESCAC teams and qualified for NCAA Tournaments, including the men's team reaching the NCAA Quarterfinals in 2002. In 2003-04, the women appear ready to grab the spotlight with a core of returning players while the men will try to find the right mix in order to continue the tradition of success.
The women return a veteran group that has been at the top of the lineup since their first year. Seniors Paulette Hricko (Dover, Mass.), Alexis Bawden (Fairfield, Calif.) and Sanida Kikic (Dallas, Texas) bring a wealth of talent and experience to the table. Junior Julia Shaver (Long Lake, Minn.) was an All-NESCAC performer last year, while classmates Lauren Gray (Orono, Minn.) and Caitlin Lombardi (Manchester, Mass.) will look for time in the rotation. Sophomores Kara Perriello (Linnfield, Mass.) and Kristina Sisk (Denver, Colo.) both had solid years in 2002-03, while a talented group of first-years include Samantha Cohen (Brookline, Mass.), Christine D'Elia (Fairfield, Conn.) and Kelsey Hughes (Shelburne, Vt.). Together, this group is perhaps the most talented in Bowdoin women's tennis history.
"We're probably the strongest we've ever been," says head coach Jane Paterson. "Its very important that our seniors step up and compete and we're excited about the tons of talent our first-years have. If we stay healthy we should have the best year we've had. We're excited."
The men's squad lost their top three players from last year, including possibly the best player in school history, Colin Joyner. Fall will be more difficult that spring, as three talented juniors will be unavailable to the team. McAfee Burke (St. Louis, Mo.) will be studying abroad along with Barrett Lawson (Concord, Mass.), while Bucky Jencks (Honolulu, Hawaii) will be playing with Bowdoin's nationally-ranked men's soccer team. Nevertheless, seniors John Carolan (Eugene, Ore.) and Pat Soong (Hillsborough, Calif.) along with junior Pat Keneally (Hingham, Mass.) will take the reigns of the ship in the fall. First-years Sam Bitetti (Norwell, Mass.), Andrew McDonald (Chatham, N.J.) and Will Voinot-Baron (Sammamish, Wash.) will see action right away.
"We're going to be in a bit of a rebuilding phase this fall," says Paterson. "But we still have a lot of talent. We're going to count on our upperclassmen to lead us in building the groundwork in the fall and build on that in the spring and see how far we can go."
The men's squad plays the majority of their matches in the spring and will see action in only three tournaments this fall. The women's team has a full slate in the fall and will host the prestigous ITA Regionals on the weekend of September 26-28.